Obvious Child: A Poignant Romantic Comedy about Abortion?

Obvious Child: A Poignant Romantic Comedy about Abortion?

Obvious Child opens in theaters on Friday June 6, 2014.  The reviews generally describe this film as a poignant comedy/romance that presents a refreshingly honest portrayal of a young couple facing an unplanned pregnancy.

Writer-Director Gillian Robespierre shares:

 “We weren’t sure how an abortion comedy would work out… [But] I think, what Jenny did was really capture that feeling of feeling lost and learning how to grow from that experience.”

Our lead heroine in this saga is 28 year old aspiring comedian Donna Stern (played by Jenny Slate.)  She draws upon the sexual activities with her boyfriend to fuel the pornographic standup comedy featured in the movie’s opening scene.  But Donna’s boyfriend doesn’t appreciate this exploitation of their sexual relationship to fuel her budding comedic genius.  So to exact revenge he sleeps with Jenny’s girlfriend as if to say… “Now stick that in your next stand up act!”

Actually that’s just what she does.  But her act bombs that night because Donna is hurt and depressed that this guy slept with her girlfriend and this makes for bad comedy.  See, it’s ok to take the private/intimate experience of sex with your partner and graphically share it with your audience to make them laugh…but it’s not ok for that guy to sleep with your friend.

Donna deals with her boyfriend-betrayal by going out with a friend and getting plastered.  She meets a nice young man, Max (played by Jake Lacy.) They consume even more alcohol and in one particularly poignant scene both share in public urination…and Max passes gas while relieving his booze-bloated bladder.  (Jenny later affectionately refers to Max as her “Pee-Farter.”)  Filled with passion by this romantic bonding experience they are soon dancing in their underwear and having sex.

Later as Donna examines her tender breast in the mirror she recognizes that her body is preparing for a baby…and decides abortion is the only solution to her dilemma.   Like a frightened child after a nightmare, she snuggles into the warm, safe womb of her mother’s bed, and shares her anxiety about the unplanned pregnancy and the decision to abort the child.

Donna’s mother (played by Polly Draper) has not been supportive of her daughter’s comedy career but is very supportive of the decision to abort.  Donna’s mom shares that she too had an abortion in her youth.

Sadly this scenario is not uncommon.  When a mother never properly grieves a previous abortion loss, she is likely to suffer the common post abortion symptoms after the procedure in her life and relationships.  Growing up with a wounded after-abortion mom would likely influence Donna’s sexually-charged nihilistic standup comedy.   As with many mother/daughter abortion decisions,  this Mom projected onto Donna’s crisis the same vulnerabilities and unresolved grief and loss from her own abortion…leading her to see termination as the only solution.  Tragically the trauma after the abortion is transmitted like a deadly virus to her daughter.

Donna and her sexual partner Max are confused and immature characters.   Without the guidance of an adult in their life who could offer them an alternative to sexual anarchy and abortion, they lack any moral or spiritual compass to help them negotiate their adult lives and find a non-violent solution to their unplanned pregnancy.

Donna in her standup act projects an image of the brave transparent comic heroine whose comedy is unrestrained by any standards of decency.   But her sexually explicit comedy reveals a lack of respect for the sacred nature of this most intimate human experience endowed by our Creator with the awesome power to create human life.  The graphic sexual comedy that opens the movie leads inexorably to the urination scene and the desecration of the sexual act (and finally their unborn child.)

Director Gillian Robespierre would like us to believe that this story has a happy ending and to breathe a sigh of relief that thankfully abortion while unpleasant is really no big deal…just part of Donna’s crazy comedic coming of age as she learns and “grows from the experience.” 

This is a dangerous deception for women and men who will face an unplanned pregnancy or have experienced an abortion loss.

Consider the scene where Donna discovers her breasts are changing to prepare for the unborn child.  By disrupting the natural process of breast maturation after abortion Donna is significantly increasing her risk of breast cancer.   Is this what director Robespierre had in mind when he had the inspiration to create this “abortion comedy?”

Here is the more likely progression in the personal and professional life of comedian Donna Stern.  Read these stories of women and men who present a more honest and accurate description of the experience of abortion loss and recovery.

There is a 50% chance that without a healing program for her abortion loss Donna will go on to to have multiple abortions.  With each abortion the light of grace in her heart and soul will fade as the unhealed pain and grief of love/child lost leads to increased alcohol abuse and relational dysfunction…as the pain bleeds  into her sexually explicit nihilistic comedy.

The night before Donna’s scheduled abortion, Max comes to see her standup act:

   “You killed it” [Max] compliments Donna after her rousing routine.

Donna’s response…

 “Isn’t that what I’m doing tomorrow?”  


[If you are a man or woman who has suffered abortion loss do not give into despair, cynicism or fear.  There is forgiveness, healing and peace available through an abortion recovery program.]

One thought on “Obvious Child: A Poignant Romantic Comedy about Abortion?

  1. Great review Kevin…the scenario is repeated over and over..and the healing retreats wait for them to discover that their soul is broken and scattered and their life is a mess.

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